Making the correct food choices can be overwhelming, and sometimes the best option seems to be to drive to the nearest fast food restaurant where you know exactly what to expect. Thankfully, foodist Michael Pollan, with his highly specialized knowledge about nutrition and the entire industry, has penned a pocket-sized guide that provides sixty-four basic rules that can make a big difference. Each rule, along with the simple illustration, is designed to be a simplistic reminder of a principle of healthy eating. None of them seems too overwhelming, and there isn’t a single rule that I thought, even for a split second, that I could not follow.
The slim book is divided into three parts, including what should I eat? (food); what kind of food should I eat? (mostly plants); and how should I eat? (not too much). Some of the rules may be familiar to you and others may seem a bit more obscure. For example, Pollan instructs readers to avoid food products containing ingredients a third-grader cannot pronounce, eat colorful food, and cook, sweeten, and salt food on your own.
It might also surprise some readers to learn that the book is not void of some comic relief, perhaps making fun of the rules we probably all know but refuse to live by. For example, readers are advised in rule eighteen to refrain from ingesting foods made in places where everyone is required to wear a surgical cap, and in rule twenty-one we are instructed to acknowledge that an item is not food if it is called the same name in every language (think Big Mac, Cheetos, or Pringles). I was particularly fond of the Chinese proverb that becomes rule twenty-four,
“eating what stands on one leg [mushrooms and plant foods] is better than eating what stands on two legs [fowl], which is better than eating what stands on four legs [cows, pigs, and other mammals]” as well as rule thirty, which advises against the eating of breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.
Food Rules sets the foundation for healthy eating, and its stylish presentation and user-friendly tone will encourage anyone who picks it up to take reasonable, small steps towards healthy eating. It provides the type of information that, once ingested, will likely stay with you and rise to the surface just as the moment there is a particular choice to be made.